For a teen, getting their driver’s license is exciting and they feel like they have a new found freedom and sense of responsibility. But for parents, it often feels quite different. Especially for a parent’s first time with a teen driver, there can feel like you have just one more thing to worry about. Having an understanding of what is legally required of you will maybe help you transition into this new phase of raising a teenager.
Requirements for Teen Drivers
The first step towards a teen getting their driver’s license is taking a driver’s education course. Then following that up with an exam at their local Harris or Galveston Dept of Public Safety office. This is a written knowledge test about the rules of the road based on state law and the curriculum in the driver’s education class. Once this exam is passed they receive their learner’ permit, which they must have for six month before they can take the final behind the wheel test. During this six month waiting period, or until the teen turns 16, there must be a minimum for 30 hours of driving time, including 10 hours of nighttime driving. This is called the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program
Please note that law and regulations change but the Impact Texas Teen Driver’s (ITTD) Program which was developed by the DPS helps further educate teens to hope to reduce the risk of accidents is also a required course of Texas teens. Situations vary so it would be helpful to gather the appropriate information at Tx DPS.
Again, it is imperative to follow the rules and laws in Texas, or your state so please check with the Department of Public Safety to get the specifics of requirements needed for your teen driver.
The moment your teen receives their driver’s license, they need to be registered under your car insurance. The state of Texas requires that all drivers are responsible for any accidents that they may cause…no matter how old or young the legal driver. If you are a household that owns a car and your teen has a license, they need to be included on the driver’s insurance policy, regardless of whether they have their own car or just driving your car.
Before your teen has their official license it is not a requirement for them to be on your plan. While they have their driver’s permit, teens are only to drive under supervision. So the parents are the only necessary policyholders.
Teen Driving Restrictions
Other helpful information for parents to note are the state and city laws in regards to drivers under the age of 18. Harris County, Texas enforces a juvenile curfew seven days per week. Juveniles are not allowed to drive from the house at midnight to 6 a.m. This is a standard curfew that holds true in much of the U.S. There are exceptions for drivers during these hours, for example in the cases of employment or emergency. If a 16 or 17 year old is caught driving during these restricted hours without a reason, they can receive a citation and a fine. Plus, because they are juveniles, parents can also be given a citation for being the responsible guardian for their son or daughter.
From the basics of getting their drivers license, to insurance to curfews, parents/guardians are responsible for knowing the rules of the road and abiding to them, as well as ensuring that you teen driver knows these as well. Adding your teen to your insurance policy and enforcing those curfew times will hopefully help you feel more secure as your teen becomes an independent driver. Or not.
Should you have any questions about whether your teen should have their own policy or be added to yours and the repercussions if they are involved in an accident, please call Paula Smith Insurance as we want to be your one stop resource for all of your car insurance needs. Don’t forget, we are happy to review your home, boat, rv or other personal insurance as well. Call or contact us today at (281) 488-8880.